Coach: Rob Weber
Captains: Brandon Duffy and Jacob Roth
Conference: Minnesota River
Section: 5A – 25 teams including NYA, Annandale, HLWW, Glencoe-Silver Lake, and Watertown-Mayer
2012 finish: In 2012, the Crusaders boys’ defended their 2011 MRC title, winning the conference for the section consecutive season. The boys’ team was fourth at sections, not qualifying as a team, but sending then seniors Alex Fredrickson and Jesse Greenhagen to state, where they finish 57th and 64th, respectively.
The girls’ team had four top-five finishes during the season, with Hannah Truniger leading the way, winning many of her contests throughout the season. Truniger qualified for state and finished eighth.
2013 boys’ outlook: As two-time conference champions, the Crusader boys are looking to make it three in a row in 2013.
“The boys would like to challenge for their third MRC conference title in a row, but will be hard pressed to beat Belle Plaine again,” head coach Rob Weber said.
Losing All-Conference athletes Alex Fredrickson, Kyle Fredrickson, and Jesse Greenhagen will be tough for the team, but All-Conference athlete Brandon Duffy returns to captain and lead the team for his senior season, along with 2012 All-Conference Honorable Mention Jacob Roth, who returns as a junior and captain.
With five returning letter winners in Duffy, Roth, juniors Wyatt Entinger and Ben Quiram, and sophomore Alex Mielke, “the boys have some nice returning talent,” Weber said.
Weber said the team also has promising newcomers on the boys side including sophomore John Bones, freshmen Parker Esterberg, Todd Johnson, and Seth Pauna, as well as seventh grader Parker Bayerl, among others.
2013 girls’ outlook: The Crusader girls lost five seniors last season including All-Conference Honorable Mention Sarah Ruschmeier, as well as Holly Johnson, Marie Landskroener, Miranda Buesing, and Nina Kukowski. Also not returning this season is 2012 All-Conference athlete and state entrant Hannah Truniger.
Eighth graders Emilie Berry (2012 letter winner) and Grace Dietrich are the only returning runners for the LHS girls, making the team inexperienced and very young. But there is a lot of talent in the girls, which include freshman Harley Hentges, Karlea Kyllo, and Clara Leverich, as well as seventh grader Savannah Hummel.
Between both boys’ and girls’ teams this season, Weber said the biggest challenge will be replacing the nine graduated seniors from 2012.
“We have a very young and inexperienced team, only one senior and only two juniors,” he said.
First meet: The Crusaders kicked off the season on Aug. 24 at Norwood Young America’s alumni meet, competing against NYA Central and Glencoe-Silver Lake.
Duffy won the boys’ race in 16:58, besting the second place runner by 30 seconds. Entinger finishes 13th in 20:33, while Esterberg also broke the top 20, finishing 16th in 20:47.
Johnson, Pauna, and eighth grader Drew Jackson were 29, 30, and 31st respectively with times of 22:52, 23:13, and 23:15. Bones also competed for LHS, finishing 39th of 48 runners in 26:01.
Berry and Kyllo were fourth and fifth in the girls’ 4-kilometer race, with times of 17:13 and 17:50. Glencoe-Silver Lake’s Victoria Burr won the race in 15:45. Leverich and Hentges were 23rd and 24th with times of 22:43 and 23:01, respectively. Dietrich finished 27th of 29 runners in 24:20.
The Crusaders compete at Rockford tonight, Sept. 5. They will return to Baylor Park in NYA on Sept. 10.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com